By Ibrahim Alkurd, CEO of New Mine
Launching and running a company is no small feat, but its rewards can be huge.
A 2019 survey from London-based company SME Loans found that 64 percent of the UK workforce wants to set up a business, and a massive 83 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds dream of self-employment. Despite these high numbers, comparatively few people end up starting their own companies, and even fewer people end up running successful ones.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs have great ideas for startups, but ideas are cheap, and execution is everything. So, what are some of the key things to know before starting your own company?
1. Failure is a part of the process.
Success is never linear. Every successful entrepreneur has gone through countless failures and learned from them as they've grown. Peter Thiel of PayPal is just one example of an entrepreneur who failed big before his huge success. Thiel's early hedge fund, Clarium Capital, lost 90 percent of its estimated $7 billion in assets in 2010.
I've found that people have a tendency to focus on others' successes and overlook their failures. Remember, the lessons learned from failing provide entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to better execute their business plans in the future.
Studies have shown that the average age of leaders of high-growth startups is 45 years old. It's never too late to get started, especially because older entrepreneurs often have a wealth of experience, failures and life lessons that they can draw on.
2. Entrepreneurship can consume your life.
Many entrepreneurs describe their company as their "baby." In the first few years, it demands more attention and care; over time, however, the company's foundations become stronger.
The most successful entrepreneurs love and are passionate about their work. They're confident that their product or service is something that the market needs. Remember, nothing worthwhile comes easy, and you will have to sacrifice a lot of your free time so that you can give your startup the attention it needs to thrive.
3. You will doubt yourself at times.
Doubt is a normal human emotion, especially if you've been working on your startup for a while without seeing much success. One way to overcome self-doubt is by analyzing what you've done right and what you can do better.
Taking notes throughout your startup journey is a good way to allow you to recall past events. As an entrepreneur, your life is probably hectic at times, so note-taking or journaling is an essential tool to analyze yourself.
We can always be better and do better. Doubting yourself too much will hinder your productivity. That's why confidence is an important trait for any entrepreneur to possess. Exuding confidence instills confidence in everyone around you, whether it be your customers, your team or your investors.
4. The first few years are especially challenging.
According to data from the Small Business Administration, only 50 percent of businesses with employees survive the first five years, and only a third survive 10 years or longer. These statistics are a reflection of how difficult it is to start a successful company.
Building a strong team is one important step to reduce the chances of failure. Your team should have a broad range and wealth of experience. There will always be someone out there who knows something you don't.
5. Entrepreneurship can come with a lot of satisfaction.
Gallup data has shown that up to 85 percent of people worldwide aren't engaged at their jobs. Many of the entrepreneurs I know, on the other hand, love what they do. Job satisfaction is priceless, and it can be a major contributing factor to a happy and fulfilled life. If you're not happy with your current job, it may be time to start thinking about pursuing that startup you've always dreamed of creating.
Many of the jobs in our economy have been created by ambitious and forward-looking entrepreneurs. They had a vision and were willing to stop at nothing to execute it.